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Will new DSR-450WS have SDI or component out?

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Peter DeCrescenzo
Will new DSR-450WS have SDI or component out?
on Apr 2, 2005 at 8:39:30 pm

Has anyone heard if Sony's new DSR-450WS 16:9 24p-capable DVCAM camcorder will have SDI or analog component outputs, either built-in or available as an option?

Photographs on the net of the new DSR-400 4:3 DVCAM camcorder clearly indicate this model does not have these connectors built-in as a standard config, but what about the DSR-450WS?

The new cams seem intended to replace the current DSR-390 and DSR-570WS models, but the current models are "studio ready" with built-in 26-pin connectors including "live" uncompressed analog component outputs.

It'll be really sad if the new model cams only output DV25 compressed digital video via tape & Firewire and "live uncompressed" via analog _composite_ video. Yeech! :(

Also, Sony said in the DSR-400/DSR-450WS press release that the DSR-450WS will be available "this Spring". Does anyone have any idea if this means around "NAB-time" (this month) or more like June 19, 2005?

For reference, the Sony press release & product photos are available here:
http://news.sel.sony.com/pressrelease/5587


All the best,

- Peter


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R. Hewitt
Re: Will new DSR-450WS have SDI or component out?
on Apr 19, 2005 at 10:53:19 am

Firewire [output only] as standard, SDI as an option. DSR-400 available in the UK in April 2005. DSR-450 available in May 2005.

As both of these cameras are intended for ENG and high-end corporate, the studio-based features have been dropped. The DSR-400 gains 2/3" CCDs over the outgoing DSR-390's 1/2". As a result of the 2/3" CCDs the DSR-400 costs more than its predecessor as the lens has to move to a 2/3" mount.


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Peter DeCrescenzo
Re: Will new DSR-450WS have SDI or component out?
on Apr 20, 2005 at 12:26:19 am

[R. Hewitt] "Firewire [output only] as standard, SDI as an option. ..."

Thank you very much for following up with this. Did you get this info directly from a Sony employee/rep, and is there an online link with this info? I appreciate any additional info you may have concerning the SDI option for the DSR-450WS.

[R. Hewitt] "... As both of these cameras are intended for ENG and high-end corporate, the studio-based features have been dropped. ..."

I hear you, but is there really an "intended" use for video equipment anymore? IMHO, maybe this was once true or sensible, but manufacturers don't really have control over how their customers use their products -- if they ever did. More than ever, you have people using all sorts of equipment for all sorts of legitimate purposes, many of which the designers didn't/couldn't anticipate.

Cam makers really should start offering a wider array of "normal" options for their cams. These days, SDI, 24p, analog component outputs, and so forth are all utterly normal and inexpensive technology as extra-cost options for >$10K USD video cameras.

Customers are _waiting_ to throw money at cam manufacturers for required features/options, but the manufacturers keep leaving "money on the table". Seems stupid and counterproductive to me.

Just my $0.02 USD; I could be wrong.

If you have any additional info about an SDI option for the DSR-450WS, please let me know. Thanks again!

- Peter

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Peter DeCrescenzo
Duh! Found the brochure! :) (Does DSR-450WS have SDI?)
on Apr 20, 2005 at 10:56:25 pm

Duh. It took me a while to find the DSR-450WS brochure; it's probably been there for days. ;-)
http://bssc.sel.sony.com/BroadcastandBusiness/minisites/NAB/images/DSR400_4...

Yes, SDI is available as an option. Now I have to find out when & how much.

All the best,

- Peter

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R. Hewitt
Re: Will new DSR-450WS have SDI or component out?
on Apr 25, 2005 at 12:23:33 pm

Sony Broadcast and Professional design cameras with specific tasks in mind and are engineered to the requirements of the broadcast and professional markets. Sony reps listen closely to what the users require within a camera for its intended purpose and those details are relayed to the designers for future cameras. Following the first professional camcorders to the current releases, it is very clear that Sony are including features that are required by the majority of their customers.

An example of feedback working is the poor design of the cassette mechansim on the DSR-390 and 570 that open out and require the side of a Porta Brace jacket to be loosened just to get a tape out. The 400 and 450 has followed the design of the tried and tested BetaSX camcorder by ejecting the tape vertically. This came about due to the number of complaints Sony received.

In this price range non of the options you mention are cheap, and for the majority of professional users they aren't required. The only way to keep the prices this low is to include only what the majority of users require. Non of these cameras are mass produced and Sony has to charge the prices they do to cover R&D and production costs not forgetting the two-year worldwide warranty.

The DSR-170 etc are low cost semi-professional camcorders. Many are used by broadcasters but usually for cost reasons or where a larger camera cannot be used. These cameras are full of features that a serious professional cameraman would never touch but they are mass produced and are built no-where near as well as the top end cameras. They produce far more mechanical noise and use smaller, noisier CCDs.

Both the DSR-400 and 450 are designed for aquisition purposes and the majority of users will be using an external VTR for ingesting or the camera via firewire at a push. It is as cheap to buy an external VTR than it is to replace the heads on one of these camcorders. The mechanics of the camcorders aren't designed for the kind of punishment that a capture application can through at it.

And finally... SDI is a complete overkill for a DV25 signal and as for component, why would anyone want to use an analogue output now unless as a studio based camera?

A bit long winded but I hope it explains the path that Sony choose.


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Peter DeCrescenzo
Re: Will new DSR-450WS have SDI or component out?
on Apr 26, 2005 at 1:41:29 am

[R. Hewitt] "... An example of feedback working is the poor design of the cassette mechansim on the DSR-390 and 570 that open out and require the side of a Porta Brace jacket to be loosened just to get a tape out. The 400 and 450 has followed the design of the tried and tested BetaSX camcorder by ejecting the tape vertically. This came about due to the number of complaints Sony received. ..."

Hi, R.Hewitt. The following comments are, I suppose, directed more at Sony rather than you -- no offense is implied toward you. In fact, I'm very appreciative of your taking time to discuss these topics here. I'd like to hear more of what you and others have to say about these & related issues, and also concerning Sony's "leadership" role in this industry. (By the way, do you work for Sony?)

The Sony DSR-250 DVCAM camcorder (I own one of these) was supposedly designed & assembled by Sony's pro division, although many of its parts originated in the consumer division. The DSR-250 has a "vertical" tape eject mechanism. So, despite the prior examples of both the BetaSX & DSR-250 camcorders, Sony apparently went out of its way to design the DSR-300 & DSR-500 series cams with an *ss-backwards, side-opening tape transport. Not impressive. It's great that Sony finally deemed to pay attention to their own previous work _and_ the complaints of their customers, but its difficult for me to believe this is a positive (as in "leadership") example of Sony's engineering or marketing strengths.

[R. Hewitt] "... In this price range non of the options you mention are cheap, and for the majority of professional users they aren't required. The only way to keep the prices this low is to include only what the majority of users require. Non of these cameras are mass produced and Sony has to charge the prices they do to cover R&D and production costs not forgetting the two-year worldwide warranty. ..."

I'm not sure which price range you're referring to. I mentioned ">$10,000" camcorders, and I stand by my comment that "features such as SDI out, 24p, analog component outputs, and so forth [should be] utterly normal and inexpensive technology as extra-cost options" for camcorders in this price range.

For example, SDI circuits are no longer rocket-science expensive hardware. A classic example is the family of BlackMagic/Decklink HD capture cards, one version of which has a MSRP of <$600 USD including an _HD-SDI_ I/O port. In contrast, Sony sells their plain-jane SDI output-only cards for their camcorders for typically $1,300 USD and up. That's not my definition of "leadership"; that's gouging.

This is a good example of Sony spraying "Customer Repellent" on its current and potential customers. Sure, Sony makes gazillions of dollars, but they for some wierd reason they insist on leaving an awful lot of money on the table by pushing customers away.

Also, as I said earlier, for quite some time now an increasing number of folks have been using so-called "ENG" cameras for all sorts of non-TV news and non-broadcast purposes. And although Sony knows this, and tolerates it to a certain extent, they are amazingly stubborn in refusing to acknowledge it as a growing and lucrative source of revenue. Instead, they seem content to let Panasonic and others steal an increasing number of these customers away from them. I don't get it.

[R. Hewitt] "... Both the DSR-400 and 450 are designed for aquisition purposes and the majority of users will be using an external VTR for ingesting or the camera via firewire at a push. It is as cheap to buy an external VTR than it is to replace the heads on one of these camcorders. The mechanics of the camcorders aren't designed for the kind of punishment that a capture application can through at it. And finally... SDI is a complete overkill for a DV25 signal and as for component, why would anyone want to use an analogue output now unless as a studio based camera?"

I didn't suggest using a camcorder for frequent playback or capture.

In addition to using an external tape playback deck during post, I'll occasionally want to use a DVCAM camcorder during production with an external field recording system capable of higher datarates than DVCAM's 25-megabits/sec. For example, it's much more convenient and less expensive for me to rent a DVCPRO-50 or DigiBeta field recorder than a camcorder of either type, and connect these decks to the cam via SDI -- _if_ SDI is available as a reasonably-priced option for the cam in the first place.

And these days it's no big deal to capture a "live" uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 SDI video signal (not from tape) using a variety of computer-based systems, including in the field (such as with an Apple PowerBook, a AJA IO-LD interface unit, and a Firewire 800 PCMIA card & hard drive), or in a "studio" setting (with a full-blown desktop PC video editing system). For example, shooting blue/greenscreens via uncompressed 10-bit 4:2:2 video has obvious advantages compared to DVCAM's 4:1:1 colorspace. Of course, this assumes SDI is available as an option for the cam, too.

The DSR-450WS does have SDI available as an option, and at around MSRP $1,300 USD it's not too insanely expensive, but I suspect Sony could sell it for 1/4 that price plus a nominal installation charge, and still make a decent profit.

I guess it just gets down to my not buying the argument that Sony always needs to design its pro cams to fit certain niches, instead of making at least some of its pro cams more modular. Further, they should figure out a way to price cam options so they makes sense for a wider variety of customers, not just broadcasters. Perhaps they should offer different warranties & other perks for different markets; I don't know.

Just my $0.02; I could be wrong. Again, I welcome your comments.

All the best,

- Peter

Just a friendly reminder to all: Please consider filling-in your COW user profile information so we have a better idea who you are, where you're from, and so forth. It's the friendly thing to do. Thanks!


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R. Hewitt
Re: Will new DSR-450WS have SDI or component out?
on Apr 29, 2005 at 1:47:27 pm

No I certainly don't work for Sony. I have however been using their broadcast and professional kit for over twenty years. I've used Panasonic and a few other 'brands' but nothing has matched the quality or reliability of Sony products, in my experience.

Sony has to differentiate its products like any other manufacturer and they have been pretty good at this. The great frustration is the product I've always wanted with the features I would have liked has always been in the next price bracket. As always it's a case of aiming higher than I actually need.

I would agree that the add-on cards to enable extra functionality are expensive. Sony has long made it's cameras and camcorders modular. This enables greater functionality for the people that need the options that don't come as standard in their price range. It adds to manufacturing costs and I'm sure there are cases where mounting options such as SDI on the main PCB would be minimal cost. To counter this though it greatly increases the cost of maintenance of the camera should a part on the main board fail. This in turn leads to an increase in servicing costs. I personally believe Sony have struck a good balance on ease of maintenance and speed of getting a camera back on the road again. Sure, the optional cards are expensive beyond reasonable in my opinion but it is a trade-off that often has to be made.

The DSR-400 that replaces the DSR-390 is much more expensive but the greatest reason for the added cost, without greatly adding to the functionality, is the move from a 1/2" CCD to a full 2/3" chip as used by the majority of ENG cameras. For 'me' this is a great advance and the quality and detail in pictures is worth the extra cost. However, I would have preferred the option of 16:9 as well but that is the next model up.

I suspect Sony have had greater feedback from users of the 390 to go to the 2/3" chip so they can use all their existing 2/3" mount lenses. Often the cost of the lense is way above the cost of the camera.

I'm sure Sony have seen the increase in use of these cameras for non ENG purposes and they would certainly respond if there was a large enough market. I suspect it just isn't economical for them to extend the feature set for a smaller market; functionality that the majority of users may not wish to pay extra for. I would but then I would love the 450 too!

What would be nice is another level of professional cameras above the likes of the PD range but below the DSR-xxx. I wouldn't begin to guess at the cost of developing a new camera to fit that market but then the problem is people will either want some features available only on the higher range cameras or can't afford a new 'mid-range'.

If Sony could develop a shoulder mount version of its new HD camera without adding too much to the cost then I'm sure they may find a hit on their hands.

I guess at the end of the day it's down to what people are prepared/can afford to pay and the economics of the cost involved in entering a new market that is already being mopped up by JVC and Panasonic.


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gary
Re: sony dsr-400
by
on May 6, 2005 at 3:17:13 am

hi!
i bought one. really super sharp picture. massive ccu/picture controls, much more than prior ops.
lcd is nice for tripod use, not in position for use when handheld.
you'll go blind trying to focus that close. but clients can view and see timecode too. handy critter.
auto white balance functionality very good, no more filter wheel.
BUT if you power down, the preset does NOT remember your 5600 setting. you'll know what i speak of when you get the cam.
but the auto wb really does better and well, doesn't get fooled as much by big color fields, you know, when you have no wb op or time.
i got the cam even in the face of HD, widescreen etc. i have NO need or request for HD/widescreen yet.
my wide lens, a 5.2 seems to have gained a bit of wide, and is sharper with this camera than my d30.
cam feels like a dsr300 on steroids. does not have s-video output from cam. also, the audio inputs seem unduly sensitive, work very well but i have to have volume knobs VERY low, even with the onboard sony tuner connected. so watch your audio levels carefully. sound is fine tho.
lighter weight than my d30/dsr1 combo. higher res chips give results. dv out only. not in. wish they would give dv IN, really.
i've used it for a couple commercials, a jr high show, several news stories. thanks sony for not leaving us SD 4:3 guys out in the cold.
-gary


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lance herring
Re: sony dsr-400
on May 9, 2005 at 11:06:45 pm

ANYONE have ANY clue when the dsr-450 will be available? i've not gotten a straight answer from anyone yet, and cant find anything on the net about it. i really am interested in this camera! does it have true progressive scan CCDs?? i was looking at the sdx-900 for our work here, but dang its so expensive for what it does... this 450 would be almost half the price. so it sounds like a killer camera esp if it has progressive ccds for real 24p and 30p recording.


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R. Hewitt
Re: sony dsr-400
on May 10, 2005 at 2:55:00 pm

It will arrive in the UK on May 23rd. Not sure about the US though.


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Peter DeCrescenzo
Re: sony dsr-400
on May 11, 2005 at 6:00:02 pm

[lance herring] "... i was looking at the sdx-900 for our work here, but dang its so expensive for what it does... this 450 would be almost half the price. ..."

Hi Lance: Are you recording to tape, or outputting "live" via SDI?

The SDX-900 can record up to DVCPRO-50 4:2:2 onto tape, but the DSR-450WS records DV/DVCAM-25 4:1:1 (in the NTSC model) on tape. So for videotape recording the SDX-900 produces visibly better results due to its datarate & colorspace capability.

When outputting "live" video (not from tape) via their optional SDI cards, these cams probably produce very similar quality @ 10-bit 4:2:2 (without DV compression).

The DSR-450WS can record 24p, 30p and 60i (NTSC); the 24p is via "standard" 2:3 pulldown only. It doesn't offer "advanced" 2:3:3:2 pulldown. The SDX-900 does both, which means it's more versatile, in very useful ways.

At least one of the major dealers in the SF, CA area (VMI) has told me "dealer pricing" isn't available yet for the DSR-450WS. The other major dealer in the area, Snader, seems to be having difficulty getting info on this cam, too. This probably means the dealers don't really know (or aren't supposed to say) when the cam starts shipping in the US or what prices they should quote.

I'm considering purchasing a DSR-450WS myself, so I'm eager to learn as much about it as possible, but there are good reasons why it costs less than Panasonic's excellent SDX-900 camcorder.

All the best,

- Peter DeCrescenzo

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Peter DeCrescenzo
Re: Sony DSR-450WS vs. Panasonic SDX-900
on May 11, 2005 at 10:58:20 pm

[Peter DeCrescenzo] "... there are good reasons why [the Sony DSR-450WS] costs less than Panasonic's excellent SDX-900 camcorder."

Another reason why the Panasonic AJ-SDX900 may be worth the additional cost over the Sony DSR-450WS:

The SDX-900 can record full 48-kHz/16-bit audio on four (4) channels such as from mic, line, wireless receiver, and so forth. The DSR-450WS only records audio at that quality level on two (2) channels.

For some productions, 4 channel 48kHz/16-bit sound is a big plus.

All the best,

- Peter

Just a friendly reminder to all: Please consider filling-in your COW user profile information so we have a better idea who you are, where you're from, and so forth. It's the friendly thing to do. Thanks!


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